Object. In this article the authors report on a novel, compact device for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging that has been developed for use in a standard neurosurgical operating room.
Methods. The device includes a permanent magnet with a field strength of 0.12 tesla. The poles of the magnet are vertically aligned, with a gap of 25 cm. When not in use the magnet is stored in a shielded cage in a corner of the operating room; it is easily moved into position and attaches to a regular operating table. The magnet is raised for imaging when needed and may be lowered to allow surgery to proceed unencumbered. Surgical navigation with optical and/or magnetic probes is incorporated into the system.
Twenty-five patients have undergone removal of intracranial lesions with the aid of this device. Operations included craniotomy for tumor or other lesion in 18 patients and transsphenoidal resection of tumor in seven. The number of scans ranged from two to five per surgery (average 3.4); image quality was excellent in 45%, adequate in 43%, and poor in 12%. In four patients MR imaging revealed additional tumor that was then resected; in five others visual examination of the operative field was inconclusive but complete tumor removal was confirmed on MR imaging. In 21 patients early postoperative diagnostic MR studies corroborated the findings on the final intraoperative MR image.
Using a water-covered phantom, the accuracy of the navigational tools was assessed; 120 data points were measured. The accuracy of the magnetic probe averaged 1.3 mm and 2.1 mm in the coronal and axial planes, respectively; the optical probe accuracy was 2.1 mm and 1.8 mm in those planes.
Conclusions. This device provides high-quality intraoperative imaging and accurate surgical navigation with minimal disruption in a standard neurosurgical operating room.